LA Progressive: January 3 to 9, 2010 — Articles

Inequalities: When the Larry Summers of Our Discontent Said XX < XY in Math and Science. In our culture, it may be that math is less appealing to girls. To change this equation, actress Danica McKellar has written math textbooks with covers resembling Cosmo, and Austrian artist Peren Linn has designed jeans with Fermat’s Last Theorem imprinted on them, to merge elliptic curves with feminine ones. -Jonathan David Farley and A.J. Stone

Savannah Book Festival: Escape From a Cold Virtual World. My New Year’s resolution is that I will abandon virtual networking for authentic, human contact. It’s time to venture into the heady world of writers and meet artists who excel at their craft. No mere dream-like avatars of the internet, these are verifiable, living, breathing originals, and you can find them at mostly unheralded literary events. -Georgianne Nienaber

Nativist Ringleader Behind New Website Parodying Latino Group’s Anti-Hate Campaign. It is not often that a single individual is largely responsible for creating an entire political movement. But John Tanton can claim without exaggeration that he is the founding father of America’s modern anti-immigration movement. -Andrea Christina Nill

“Hands off My Medicare”: The Deadly Legacy of Social Insurance. As the House and Senate hammer together the controversial health-care bill, a historian of the issue warns that the new law may be doomed by the American system of treating government benefits as bought and paid for. -Colin Gordon

The Wars in Yemen: More Complex Than We’re Being Told. With Al Qaeda now in the picture and linked to an attempted physical attack on the U.S., the Obama Administration, obsessively carrying on the “war against terrorism,” has suddenly become enmeshed in still another civil war. -Carl Bloice

Study Shows Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Would Produce $1.5 Trillion Benefit. A new study by University of California at Los Angeles professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda suggests that comprehensive immigration reform, which includes an earned path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, could generate at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. -Andrea Christina Nill

Obama, Gandhi, and King: Reflections on His Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech. We progressives need to follow King’s advice and not merely listen to, but to learn from others in the world. “Compassion and non-violence help us see the enemies point of view . . . . We may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own . . . [and] may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of our brothers who are called the opposition.” Most significantly, he noted that it is the U.S. that is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” -Gene Rothman

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Commerce Department’s Amanda Simpson, California Assembly Speaker John Perez.

LGBTs Make Gains. Despite a lack of movement towards equal rights on the national political stage for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Americans (Where are you Democratic Liberals and Progressives when we need you?), there are three important LGBT gains as we enter 2010. -Carl Matthes

Prop 8 Trial: Call to Action. Those of us who want to see Prop 8 overturned have this remarkable chance to make our voices heard by calling for the trial to be televised in the interest of transparency and accountability. The Courage Campaign Institute, one of the principle organizations working to overturn Prop 8, is teaming up with CREDO Action to collect as many signatures as possible asking Judge Walker to televise the case. –Carl Matthes

Is Dick Cheney Unpatriotic If anything is unpatriotic, it’s the macho rattling of the saber from the conservative chairborne brigades—for which five-deferment Cheney is the chief spokesman—because it paints a bull’s eye on America’s back. -Ivan Eland

Black Gays Invited to White House. Just as my enslaved ancestors could have never imagined an African American family residing in the White House, nor could my African American LGBTQ brothers and sisters who fought in the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York’s Greenwich Village imagine that one day a special invitation from the White House would openly welcome us in. -Rev. Irene Monroe

Defining Progressive Victories in 2010. To help avoid the “defining downward” of progressive goals on the key issues of 2010, I thought it would be helpful to assess what would constitute activist victories and whether progressives should cheer measures short of what they are now backing. -Randy Shaw

Nativist Leader Cites Shoddy Polling Data To Claim There Is A Rift Between The Pew And The Pulpit. The anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA, posted a video Tuesdayb of its director, Roy Beck, on Fox & Friends touting recent polling by its unofficial sister group, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claims to show that religious leaders lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform are out of tune with the people of faith they represent. -Andrea Christina Nill

Lame Duck Terminator. Schwarzenegger’s hackneyed “State of the State” address was pathetic and unconvincing. If it weren’t for his acting chops and his ability to emote on cue, he couldn’t get away with the simplistic platitudes that roll off his tongue. Then again, if he couldn’t act he wouldn’t be governor either. -Joseph Palermo

Terrorism State Lottery Winners Not Welcome in the Secure Homeland. So when someone says ‘airport security,’ remember these El-Al examples. Aside from the tail’s blue Star of David targeting the aircraft during take-off and landing below 1,000 feet, I never felt safer on any airplane. -Denis Campbell

Political Predictions for 2010. California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign. -Paul Hogarth

UC Campuses Expand Assistance for Former Foster Kids. More than 3,000 youth in California age out of the foster care system every year without having a permanent family to support them. Nationally, studies have shown that just 7 to 13 percent of foster youth pursue higher education. Of those who do go to college, only 2 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24 percent for the general population, according to a Casey Family Programs report. -Harry Mok

I Really Cared About You — Last Week. Maybe caring about less fortunate people about 2% of the time (1 week out of 52) is better than nothing. Sometimes, feeling special for a few hours gives you hope that life will eventually get a little easier. -Ron Wolff

Winograd Nails Waxman. On January 3, 2010 congressional candidate Marcy Winograd wrote an open letter to Congressman Henry Waxman addressing his praise for Blue Dog Democrat Jane Harman for her position on energy and the environment, never acknowledging that Harman’s support of perpetual war leaves the worst carbon foot print of all – a scorched earth. -Marcy Winograd

What’s Ahead for the Economy and Politics in 2010. Issue Number One — the overriding concern that will determine more than anything how many seats the Dems lose next fall — is jobs. If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate. -Robert Reich

Hypocritical Outrage: Why the Process of Engineering This Health Reform Bill Is No Uglier Than the Rest of Congress’ Handiwork. Twice last week I was on panels with Republicans who expressed surprise about the “unseemly” tactics employed by Democrats in passing health care reform. The horsetrading was so “venal!” The process so “hyperpartisan!” Noble Americans, we should all be so very shocked! Well, not really. -Tanya Acker

Wars “R” Us: Making the World Safe for American Domination. Wars are big business, most notably for investors and employees in the aerospace and defense industries. The related purposes, like the ones guiding most corporations, are hardly humanistic. Instead new sources of revenue, cheap resources from conquered lands, and new markets for products and services are the sine qua non. -Emily Spence

Holding Obama Accountable. Specifically, activists must employ what I describe in The Activist’s Handbook as the “fear and loathing” approach that has long proved necessary to get most politicians to do the right thing. Activists must make Obama fear the political repercussions of not backing progressive positions, even to the extent that the President comes to “loathe” those creating such pressures. -Randy Shaw

Vietnam: What War Stories Need to Accomplish. As the grave filled, as Dam was brought to rest, we knew that we were burying the war. We had accomplished what war stories needed to accomplish. We had not left the dead restless in their mass and anonymous graves, and in doing so we had attended to all the wandering souls, Vietnamese and American, dead and still living, that could not come home from the war. -Wayne Karlin

Ocean Wave Generators for Southern California. Maybe it’s time for Southern California to look, again at the ocean wave generator as a means to produce power for our local grid. The advancement of technology has made harnessing the power of the ocean a workable solution to our energy needs. In the near future, we may find that the great California coastline will give us more than just great pleasure. -S. Blair Fox

In My Wildest Dreams: The Marriage That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Oscar laughed. “Why of course they can’t call it heterosexual marriage! That would make them appear like bigots. They would sound as if they endorse discrimination. They would seem prejudiced. They would be saying openly that they think heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality. And besides, if they called it ‘heterosexual’ marriage it would be too easy to ask questions about why the state has to confer so many special rights and privileges on heterosexual marriages in order to get people to marry heterosexually. -Marc Stein

Farewell 00’s, Welcome 10’s! Top Story of 2009? Bringing Paula Home.And yet despite all their media noise about birthers, death panels and socialism, there was only one story that really mattered to this journalist, Bringing Paula Home. Paula Persechini-Petitti is a remarkable woman who travelled the globe for 17 years bringing medical supplies and healthcare to third or fourth world nations around the globe. -Denis Campbell

2010 Resolutions. In our LA Progressive survey that ran from 30 December 2009 to 2 January 2010, we asked our readers to name a political leader they admire and write a 2010 resolution for that person. Here are the results from that survey. Below is the full list of responses:

Survey Results: Go Left, Young Man! After riding a euphoric crest of progressive support into the White House last year, President Barack Obama faces a very different challenge going into 2010: Regaining the trust and support of his own political base. -Dick & Sharon

Speak Your Mind

*